Connection: with Virginia Sin

Virginia Sin, founder of the brand SIN.

Even if you haven’t heard of the brand SIN, you’ve probably seen it gracing your favorite brand's social feed, or all over our own website. Those dreamy homewares come from Virginia Sin, the Brooklyn-based ceramicist, and her incredible all-female team.

A longtime friend of Hawkins New York, we talked with Virginia about her own home decor, motherhood, and how Wegman’s brand honey mustard pretzel pieces are better than Snyder’s (but that part got cut out).

Hawkins New York: Obviously Virginia Sin is a brand that's intrinsically tied to you as a person and your name. How does it feel to be like the name and face of your own brand?

Virginia Sin: Well, it's interesting that you asked that, because our brand name is actually “SIN” and not “Virginia Sin”, so that was sort of strategic. Because it felt like if it were to just be called “Virginia Sin”, then it would really feel more personal. Even though it is my last name, I see this as a brand built by many people — I wouldn't be able to do it by myself. And so I think just calling it SIN feels a bit more inclusive. But yes, I am the face of the brand. And yeah, I feel fine with it! 

HNY: Getting into your team specifically, I know that it's majority women. Was that an intentional decision? Or did it just kind of end up going in that direction?

VS: Well, we don't discriminate. We hire obviously everybody, not just women, but it just sort of turned out that we're currently an all women team.

HNY: Do you feel like there's a good sense of community among your team? 

VS: Yeah, we love to have lunch together every day. It's a tradition that we have, that I started from the very beginning of the business. I think it's important to take time and not eat at your desk and have some nice, meaningful, conversation with your fellow co-workers, and not talk about work for an hour. We are a pretty tight knit group — I think you have to be at our size. And we all bring so much to the table and wear so many hats, and are so like-minded. 

HNY: If you had to describe the word community, what would that look like to you? What does that mean to you? 

VS: Community looks like a group of people that you can feel safe with, that you can reach out to, even when it feels hard to ask for help. Community looks like a group of people that are able to support one another and be happy for one another when there are accomplishments and successes. So I think [it means] being there when you really need them the most. Human beings are very social creatures and we need community to thrive and feel like we belong — it's really not fun to do anything by yourself. And so, to be able to share those moments and just to be able to wear your heart on your sleeve, makes life meaningful and fulfilling. I really wouldn't want to live without community.

HNY: Today is the beginning of Women's History Month, so we'd like to maybe lean into that a little bit. We know that you became a mother last year — congratulations, by the way!

VS: Thank you.  

HNY: How has motherhood changed the way that you approach work?

VS: I mean, shout out to all the women that are mothers, first of all. And to the women that do it by themselves, without a supportive partner, to the women that have more than one kid. I have one, and I'm just like, “Oh my God. How do people do more?” 

I have a very supportive partner and, like, I feel like I'm exhausted every day. [laughs] And I have a really supportive network of family and friends, so I recognize that I'm very privileged in that way… and it’s still hard. So I think women are incredible — we literally can give birth to another human being. I know we can do everything. I mean, at work, we talk about how we build our own furniture, we build our own products, we drive forklifts, we can do it all. So I think at the company, I like to sort of find opportunities for all the women that work at SIN to really feel empowered every day and know that it's a woman's world. That we can do whatever we put our mind to. 

But back to your question about motherhood, I was able to take a seven month maternity leave thanks to my team. You know, I spent the entire time that I was pregnant grooming, planning, and preparing for everyone to feel like they were in a really good spot, so that when I left, I didn't leave them high and dry. And that they felt like they were confident in whatever it was that they were doing that helped keep the business afloat. I'm proud to say that not only was it afloat, I think we thrived that year, even though I was gone for seven months. It's a testament to what we as women can do. And during the seven months it was interesting because I am a person that loves to work and SIN was my first baby. Obviously it doesn't mean that I don't love my firstborn child, but you know, [when I was gone] I missed work. I think there's a lot of shame and guilt around that kind of stuff in our society. But I think owning your own business is a walk in the park compared to being a [full time] mom. I learned a lot during those seven months with my baby and I'm really excited to be back at work. I've just been doing [SIN] for a lot longer, so I have a lot more experience in it, and feel more confident in it than being a mom. But I love that I get to experience both.

HNY: What role has your own mom had in this experience of becoming a mother?

VS: I knew that having a child would be a very healing process for my relationship with my mom. For a long time, I didn't want to be a mom, because I didn't finish processing and working through all of the things that my mom and I struggled with. But when I was done with that healing process, that was when I realized that I would be capable of being a decent mom and that I think I would want to give it a shot. So my mom actually has been incredibly supportive and has exercised excellent boundaries. I have this profound new appreciation for her and what she went through raising me, because my dad was always at work and she was a young mom. So I have a ton of empathy for her that I didn't think I could ever have. I think it's really beautiful that, you know, I'm able to come out of that experience. 

And then my baby Luca, he has a wonderful relationship with my mom. [My parents] are first time grandparents and they decided to move temporarily [from California] to Brooklyn to live for a year in our building in a different plot. But how lucky to have them basically take care of him for the first year while I get to be focused on work and not worry about somebody else taking care of him. So, yes, it really does take a village. I just feel really lucky.

HNY: That’s amazing, thank you for sharing all of that with us. Speaking of home more generally, what are three words you would use to describe your own home?

VS: It's definitely evolving, because we have to make room for another person now. And it's funny because we're sort of in a transition state. And you can decide if you want to include this in or not, but we went from a really beautiful apartment that was curated with really nice, thoughtful pieces picked out, to now, in something that is definitely function over form. And Luca now has taken over our bedroom [while] my partner and I are sleeping in the living room. So it's a transition. We've gotten rid of our really nice coffee table and like, we had to put corner protectors on the TV stand. We actually have this leaning mirror that we got through Hawkins, and every time we hear him walking towards it, we run out [because] we're terrified of it falling on him. 

So currently, one of the words is “evolving” because it's changed a lot, but it still is very much a lived-in space. Even though it’s baby proofed, we still have nice pieces and sentimental art objects lying around. So that would be the second word, “lived in.” Our couch is leather and it's got a nice wear to it, I like the way it's aging over time. And we still have artwork, because [our baby] can't reach the artwork yet, from our friends and artists friends that we love. So it's lived in, it's evolving, but it still feels like a reflection of the love that's in the home. It still makes me feel warm and happy. So it's not ready for the next editorial shoot anymore, but it still has a lot of warmth and happiness to it, which is also part of our mission statement [at SIN]. I feel like it's authentic to who I am.

HNY: Last two questions. First, what are your dreams for SIN, the brand?

VS: My vision is to be a heritage brand, and so that is going to take my whole lifetime to achieve hopefully. And my five year goal is to design a hotel. So I think that is sort of a stepping stone to the bigger vision of wanting to be a heritage brand.

HNY: We would definitely stay in your hotel. And last question, what are your dreams for Virginia Sin, the person?

VS: I honestly feel like it's really good exercise to just stay present, and I feel really happy and content with where I am in my life. Where I am in my life is where I'm meant to be, I guess. So aside from my very specific career goals, vision, and things that I have for the business, I think that I am in a lot of ways living the dream. I have health. I have people that I love in my life. You know, I found love. I have a new baby that I love. I have incredible friends and family. And I have an incredible team to support my business. 

I think it's just so important to feel okay with where you currently are in life at all times. Obviously we all have bad days, but I try my best to remember that. I don't feel like I need to be somebody else, or dream to be somebody else. I'm happy with just being me. [laughs] Right now, my life is good! 

Shop The Virginia Sin Edit, a collection curated by Virginia herself, featuring her favorite products from our site. 

Virginia Sin and her team making the Prong Bowl.

Virginia Sin and her team making the Prong Bowl.